, Volume 103, Issue 2, pp 295-302

High repetition rate plasma mirror for temporal contrast enhancement of terawatt femtosecond laser pulses by three orders of magnitude

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Abstract

We present a plasma mirror configuration that improves the temporal pulse contrast of femtosecond terawatt laser pulses by a factor of thousand using a single antireflection coated glass target. The device provides ultra-high contrast for experiments with a maximum repetition rate of 10 Hz. A third-order cross-correlator has been used to measure the temporal pulse contrast for several different plasma mirror targets. It is shown that the ASE can be suppressed to a level of 10−11. A comparison between a triggered and an untriggered plasma mirror reveals differences in the intensity distribution of the focused beam. The triggered plasma mirror produces a slightly larger focus due to the expansion of the triggered plasma mirror at −3 ps before the main pulse. We propose a cost-effective AR-coated and a blank glass target to reduce the costs of the consumable target material. High-harmonic radiation on solid surfaces has been generated with different plasma mirror targets to demonstrate the high laser contrast.